In ideal circumstances Macclesfield Blues would have wished for a better start to their National League 2 campaign. Pre-season training had gone well and confidence was high ahead of the trip south to Stourbridge. However, Stourbridge did a very good job of putting a spanner in the works and ruining Macclesfield Blues’ day. Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, always knew that this was as tough an opening as any team in this league was likely to face, but never the less he still ended the game disappointed and frustrated as he felt his team’s overall performance merited more of a reward.
What was the difference between the teams? Well, on the face of it Stourbridge were the more accurate and clinical team, putting points on the board when their opportunities arose. Macclesfield for all their first half possession failed to capitalise. These are issues that Giles and the team will be addressing in training this week in preparation for the Blues first home game at Priory Park this weekend when they take on local rivals Caldy. Here’s what Giles had to say.
Were you disappointed to start the season with a loss?
“Of course I was disappointed, but I think the overwhelming feeling I had was one of frustration. When you have 98 per cent possession in the first 20 minutes and you still fail to get over the try line, then you’re naturally going to be very frustrated. It’s irritating of course, but we’ve had a very honest and open review in the immediate aftermath of the game and subsequently as well, and we know what we need to work on and we know what we need to do better.”
“Part of the problem it seemed to me is that after failing to score in the first 20 minutes when we were dominant, we almost seemed to change what we were doing. By changing the way we were playing and trying to force things I think we made the situation worse. What we should’ve done is kept on doing what we were doing. That would have allowed us to keep hold of possession and apply some pressure. I’m pretty sure had we done that then that pressure would’ve told eventually. Unfortunately pressure as I’ve said to you many times makes people do strange things.”
Do you think things would’ve been different had the team managed the game better?
“No, not necessarily: I think what would’ve made the biggest difference is greater accuracy and application. That’s what we need to do better. Our game management was reasonable. Unfortunately for reasons that I’m not sure about we just deviated from the plan. The reason for that I suspect is that individuals were trying a little too hard. Collectively we all want to win, but I think there were one or two individuals who wanted to force the play to make it happen. That affected our shape and our momentum. What players need to do is focus on doing their individual jobs to the best of their ability, because that’s the best way to ensure success. The problem is doing things out of the ordinary may well look great on a highlight reel, but it won’t necessarily bring you the result you want.”
Are you planning on changing anything for the Caldy game?
“Not really. As far as I can see we don’t really need to change anything. We need to tighten up on certain things, but the game plan doesn’t need changing. We’ll have to make a couple of enforced changes because of injury, although we won’t know about those for certain until tomorrow. But other than that, we’ll approach this game in the same way as any other. We know our game plan works: all we have to ensure is that we approach it with a greater degree of accuracy.”
Are you looking forward to the first of the season at Priory Park?
“Oh definitely. We played our last game last season away from home, and we’ve played our first game this season away too, so obviously we’re all looking forward to playing in front of our home supporters. It’s always good to play in front of a home crowd, but it will be particularly important when we play Caldy because they have started their campaign well. Home support is a great thing. It helps to galvanise the team when pressure starts to squeeze, and gives you the extra incentive to do better. So yes, we can’t wait to play at Priory Park.”